When you bring your water in to have us test it for you, we check for several critical water balance parameters. One of these is your chlorine level (if you’re using chlorine as a sanitizer).

We actually check three factors when checking chlorine:

Free Available Chlorine: This is the chlorine that is free and available to sanitize your swimming pool or spa. In other words, the good stuff! Ideally, FAC should be maintained between 1.0-3.0ppm in swimming pools, while 3.0-5.0ppm is ideal in a hot tub. Anything higher than these levels is considered overkill. Our test strips ONLY test for FAC, but drop test kits measure Total Available Chlorine, which is not really an accurate picture of how much chlorine is available to kill bacteria.

Combined Chlorine: This is the amount of chlorine that has combined with organics in the water to form a by-product called chloramines. Chloramines are nasty things. When we swim, we perspire—pure and simple. Our perspiration contains ammonia, which immediately seeks out the chlorine and turns it into chloramines. You cannot prevent this from happening.

So why don’t we want chloramines in our pool or spa? Well, chloramines have no sanitizing ability, for one thing. They also are responsible for chlorine odor, red, burning eyes and sometimes, even dry, itchy skin. Have you ever walked into a YMCA or hotel pool and smelled chlorine?  And said to yourself, “They have too much chlorine in that pool!” The truth is that they have too many chloramines in the pool, and not enough Free Available Chlorine.

So, if we can’t prevent this chemical reaction from occurring, what do we do?
The easiest, most effective way to control the amount of chloramines in the water is to shock the pool regularly with an oxidizer shock—like our Non-chlorine shock. Oxidizer shock can be broadcast directly into the water at any time of day, and you can go swimming 15 minutes after adding it. This product destroys chloramines without sending your chlorine level through the roof because it contains no chlorine. It goes in at the rate of 1# / 10,000 gallons of pool water.  This should be added every 7-10 days during heavy pool usage, after heavy rains, or after a big pool party.

Total Available Chlorine: Total Available Chlorine = Free Available Chlorine + Combined Chlorine. This number should be the same as your FAC number, which would indicate you currently have no chloramines in your water. If it’s not, the differential indicates the amount of chloramines you currently have.

Once we have tested your water, the experts at Pettis Pools & Patio can help you bring it into balance or answer any questions you may have. We’re always happy to help you have a great pool or spa experience!

Water test at Pettis Pools & Patio